Teaching of the month - Sep 2020

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THE PRECIOUSNESS OF HUMAN LIFE

KuanYin-q06

To be born a human being is the highest of rewards which is blessed with the rare opportunities of practising the Dharma to develop oneself, with wisdom, into a clearly evolved being, and ultimately a Fully Enlightened Being, a Buddha!

One’s life as a human being comes with a mixed package of joys and blessings and of pains and miseries, these packages could be enlightening or hell-bound or in-between, depending on whether one faces these Becomings with wisdom or ignorance, generating wholesome or unwholesome karmas.

Spend time to contemplate on the preciousness of human existence to appreciate its value and to develop its qualities. Despite the presence of hardship in one’s life, life is still wonderful and meaningful if only one understands the true purpose and the Truth of Life.

OM SARI HUM

The human beings are the rarest of beings within the realms of existence. Rare because they possess the unique form which the others of the highest and lowest realms do not have, because they have the opportunities to realise not only the pains of life but also its joy, because they are exposed to the practice of Dharma through the realisation of the misery of beings who are trapped in samsaric existence. It is good to spend time to meditate on human existence so that its value will be appreciated and its qualities can be developed. For example, by reflecting on the miseries of beings of the other realms, by realising that all of them do not have the opportunity to practise the Dharma, it helps to generate compassion towards them. And this will develop a greater interest in religious studies and spiritual practice!

Beings in the deva realms desire to live on and on and their greatest fear is therefore of death. Beings in the ghost and hell realms, on the other hand, longs for death which brings about rebirth into the higher realms, and so death offers them some hope. Human beings, being in the middle, either fear or long for death. It is up to their stations in life which reflect both the upper and lower realms. But there is a great difference. Human beings are blessed with the opportunities and wisdom of practising the Dharma and so they are able to direct their lives, generating wholesome or unwholesome karmas. In other words, those who have wisdom are able to determine their future life! That is why it is said that to be born a human being is the highest of rewards because it not only offers one an opportunity to gain happier and more fortunate lifetimes in the future but, more importantly, offers the development of oneself into a clearly evolved being, a liberated being, an Enlightened Being!

This, of course, is a piece of happy news but what are the chances for one to have the good karma to be born into a place where the Buddhadharma can be heard and practised? Not more than one in a hundred thousand will have such a wonderful opportunity, and not more than one in a hundred thousand practitioners will succeed in achieving the goal! This is due to the nature of human mind which is under the sway of defilements which are in the forms of anger, stupidity, greed, desires, jealousy, pride and such negative emotions.

Although the Dharma clearly pin-points and explains the danger of such defilements and the correct methods to remove them, yet it is very difficult for the vast majority of mankind to practise them. So those who are strong to practise the Dharma are to be revered and supported because they are the rarest among the humankind. Not knowing who amongst them will succeed, no discrimination should be present in the mind when assistance is given to them.

Better than that, one should learn from them and become a practitioner too because the journey of life is to reach the Ultimate Goal - that of Enlightenment, become a perfected being, a Buddha! This present lifetime is once more an opportunity to continue where we have left off. Dharma is once more heard, Dharma practitioners are once more met, and those who are committed to the path of practice are once again before us, showing us the way of practice by their examples and teachings! Look at their peace and serenity of mind, at their simple lifestyles which lead to contentment. What does one wish in life? What is that what all in the world is striving to gain? It’s just Peace! Peace which can be attained through Dharma practice! Real peace! Perpetual peace! All may attain it. All who belong to the human realm, if they will practise it!

So life is wonderful, meaningful and purposeful, even though hardships are always present. They are there not to punish a being but due to various reasons and one of the most important one is to help to awaken him to recognise the Truth of Life, that what the Buddha had taught is correct! This spurs the interest to learn more and to practice more strenuously and along the way, one also realises the pains of others, causing the generation of great compassion and the arising of bodhicitta. Life is a journey of learning, of improving. Human life is precious indeed!

Monday, 17th November 1986
10th Moon,16th Day

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